Council has 20 years to exit dumping site in Mzuzu


The Mzuzu City Council (MCC) says it still has about 20 years at the contentious Mchengautuwa dumping site despite construct ion of the multi-million waste management facility at Msilo which is 90 percent complete.

Director of Public Works Fraser Bondwe said recently that there is need for a proper exit strategy from the place in order to ensure that people are not susceptible to any health hazards.

People of Mchengautuwa have in the past three years been protesting continued use of the site and accused the council of delaying to complete the K102 million European Union-funded Msilo Project.


But Bondwe said the city council will not be forced to bow down to pressure of the locals since it focuses on the long-term implications unlike the people who have oftentimes waged an emotional battle against his off i c e .

“The Mchengautuwa [site] has been there since the 80s when the city was in its infancy, and due to the population boom people started encroaching the place which was basically gullied due to extractions and waste dumping was one way of rehabilitating the land but unfortunately with time the place has been overwhelmed.

“The city council has to follow all necessary environmental and health procedures so that we do not leave behind a health burden to the people. [The] concerns are primary issues such as the pungent smell that comes from the decomposed waste,” he added.


According to Bondwe should the council dare to abandon the place without necessary precautions to bring back the original soil among other things, people around the area risk gene mutation which results into different physical deformations on the victims.

He then disclosed that plans are underway to erect a fence around the site and turn it into a demonstration centre for sanitation related technologies to students and other interested parties.

“Approximately it will take us about 20 years to ensure this place is safe, so within the 20 years of exit we are looking for resources for issues like manure making, raising seedlings and so much more for economic and intellectual gains,” he explained.

Reacting to the news one of the residents Agnes Gondwe said: “For once the city council sounds reassuring and otherwise they better be quick in putting up the fence so that we prevent children from scavenging.”

On the new Msilo state-of-the-art facility Bondwe said it stands to change the face of Mzuzu city and Malawi as a whole on issues of sanitation since it is the first of its kind in the country.

He said operationalisation of the structure will technically hinge on the three Rs which are ‘Reuse, Reduce and Recycle’ as way of adding value to waste management.

“We are doing final touches on the land fill, the sorting shelter and sand basin. The ponds are ready so we are within the timeframe,” said Site Manager Dismus Chaponda.

On the city’s dysfunctional sewer system Bondwe said there is remarkable progress in rehabilitation work on the sludge ponds whose pumping system stayed for years without proper maintenance.

However, there has been a concern from the general public on the K7,000 fee which council authorities attach to anyone using its sludge basins to dump sewage but Bondwe clarified that the fee is for maintenance purposes.

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